Federal

Jul 5, 2013

With God on their side: when religion and politics collide

Labor MP Ed Husic was criticised for being sworn in on a Koran -- but the influence of Christianity on Parliament is far greater than Islam. Crikey asks whatever happened to the separation of church and state.

Cathy Alexander — Freelance journalist and PhD candidate in politics at the University of Melbourne

Cathy Alexander

Freelance journalist and PhD candidate in politics at the University of Melbourne

“Our Father, which art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven …”

40 comments

Leave a comment

40 thoughts on “With God on their side: when religion and politics collide

  1. [email protected]

    The ACT Assembly for the best part of two decades has dealt with the issue of prayers in an inclusive manner. Standing Order 30 provides for the Speaker to ask MLAs to “pray or reflect on our responsibilities to the people of the ACT”. It is step in the right direction. However, the issues of politics and religion still permeate this small parliament as illustrated when (Catholic) Speaker Vicki Dunne attempted to run a religious service as part of the opening of the current Assembly.

  2. Warren Joffe

    Good to know that there’s something to keep Boyd busy – even more harmless than the Henry Georgers and Proportional Representation enthusiasts (anyone for the political beauties of Israel’s Knesset?). As, if you can’t read Hebrew and Greek (and I’m told the Greek was pretty low grade) there is nothing better than the KJV and Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer (no later than the 1662 version) it is up to us all to help preserve these superb literary foundational elements for Anglophone culture (ours whether we like it or not).

    All of us, atheist (cultural) Catholics, (cultural) Jews, (cultural) Anglicans or whatever should know that Chesterton had a point and that there is an awful human tendency to believe which is bound to be dangerous when it takes off after some novelty (Jim Jones and Guyana), the Waco Whackos, Jehovah’s Witnesses, varieties of Marxist-Leninist-Trotskyite-Maoist murderous utopians, and now our global warmists amongst others. [Yes, yes, the earth’s atmosphere and perhaps oceans have been warming for about 250 years since the peak of the last Little Ice Age but we don’t know why so we can’t possibly say that the contribution of CO2 is so big and so dangerous that we ought to destroy landscapes with windfarms and spend money on unnecessarily expensive electricity instead of e.g. the money for higher education which Gillard and Swan have taken from universities so they can pretend to fund Gonski.]

  3. klewso

    They might as well start by saying grace?
    “For what you about to receive, to the Lord be truly thankful!”

  4. klewso

    Or a quote from Dylan? “And my best friend Murdoch don’t even know what it is I got…”?

  5. Gavin Moodie

    While we’re at it we should rescind the law prohibiting trading on christian religious holidays: easter, xmas and Anzac day.

  6. Rex Simmons

    Excellent article: the quicker religion and state are properly separated the better. People can believe whatever fairy tale they like, but still having standard “prayers” each day and other “God” references in our parliament is ridiculous.

  7. Cathy Alexander

    Interesting point mmoore (if that’s Michael Moore, hello). I think Bob Brown was trying to remove the daily prayers from federal Parliament and replace them with a quiet time for reflection. Quite a Quaker approach …

  8. Venise Alstergren

    This is the sort of thing I’ve been saying for years. No one ever listens.

    Australian conservatives will accept anything that already has a precedent. It is like a tune one learned as a kid. A jingle whose only merit is that it’s easy to remember.

    How many parliamentarians pause and reflect on the words? More importantly, no matter the religion-or the lack of it, which Parliamentarian swears to him/her self to give full value of themselves to their work-for the electorate???

    On the one hand we have excellent documentaries on evolution and science showing us how, when, where everything on the planet evolved, back to a few billion years ago. On the other hand we are held out to believe the Oz public is enthused by the concept of a god who parcels out truth, justice, the Oz way of life, and guardian of the local footy team.

    Which is it; the Constitution, or meaningless, routine and mumbo-jumbo? FFS someone pee, or get off the pot.

  9. CML

    I agree with the content of this article. The sooner we get rid of ALL references to religion in the Constitution, the better!
    And while we are about it, make the wording more in tune with the American Constitution. That way we won’t have to fund those dreadful “church schools” which foster division, or the religious health and other institutions which thrive on discrimination. Win, win all round!!!

  10. Venise Alstergren

    WARREN JOFFE: “it is up to us all to help preserve these superb literary foundational elements for Anglophone culture (ours whether we like it or not). ”

    We are not talking re the value of literature, we are talking about our lives and how we should govern ourselves.

    Why the rant on Global Warming?-I don’t remember Cathy Walker mentioning it.

Leave a comment

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details

Sending...